The Lord in his love gave us a Sabbath

September 16th - Yes.  That is good advice, as the Lord in his love gave us a Sabbath.  So tomorrow is yours and mine - our Sabbath.  I will take the day to rest and reflect.

I will go to a local church.  I am staying at a Franciscan monastery tonight and tomorrow night.  Sadly, their beautiful church has not had a service since July for lack of priests.

Have a blessed Sunday as we celebrate Jesus' Resurrection.

May the Lord renew us

September 17th - Thank you all for your prayers.  I am having a quite day.  I went to St. Peter's Church this morning.  It is also lovely to hear from a fellow Pilgrim Vic.  May the Lord renew us and give us strength to continue the journey.

Walking down the Estella reminds me of the quietness of England back in 1988.  All shops are closed and families are enjoying a day of rest.

Just in case, God's willing,  tomorrow at about 8am (GMT) I will be reaching the Fountain of Wine at Irache.  Sometimes you can see the pilgrims live through their webcam.  They provide water and wine for free.  Too early for wine though.  Be in touch tomorrow by God's grace.

Fountain of Wine

September 18th - Good Morning.

Thank God, after a good day of rest in Estella at the Capuchinos Monastery Refuge, I am leaving towards ARCOS.

Thank you so much for your kind words, prayers and encouragement.  My thoughts and prayers are with you too.

I will be passing through Irache, the Fountain of Wine where you can fill your water bottle with water or free wine.  I am afraid, it is too early for me.  You can see live through their webcam.  I will probably be passing there between 7.30am - 8am.

I am afraid, it is raining this morning but the sunshine is promised by 11am.  Let's hope it comes earlier.  God bless you in all you will do today.  Buen Camino.

Bodegas Irache

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September 18th - I am at Irache now.  Pilgrims queuing for a bit of wine.

"On one of the walls facing the Pilgrims´ Way to Santiago, Bodegas Irache has a Wine Fountain, so that pilgrims can serve themselves a free glass of wine to spur them on their way. This stretch of the Way to Compostela was already renowned for the quality of the local wine in the 12th century and the Calixtine Codex mentions Estella, land of Good Bread and Optimal Wine. The Fountain appears in numerous guides to the Pilgrims´ Way and there are hundreds of references to it on the Internet. Thousands of people of different nationalities have visited the Fountain as it is something extraordinary on the Way." - Bodegas Irache

Thanks be to God

September 18th - Thank you so much for being my companions on this pilgrimage.  It is great to walk with you.  Let me share a story:

A few days ago I heard a wonderful testimony of a fellow pilgrim I met a few times along the way. He told me that not long ago he got something nasty by drinking water when he was working in Bosnia. So, back home in America, he started to lose all his movements and got completely paralysed, apart from his head. The neurologist told him to get ready as he was going to lose the ability to breathe.  He told me, that night he commended his family to the Lord, and also his life, and as he gave his life to the Lord, he had peace to go with him. But then,  he heard the Lord saying to him that he would be OK.

Next morning he began to move a finger, and next day 2 fingers and 3 weeks later he was leaving hospital.  Now, he is walking El Camino, hoping to finish the 800km.

Every day, he says, is a God's given gift that he enjoys and lives to the full. One day at a time as he counts his blessings.

And, yes, dear virtuous (virtual) pilgrims, walking El Camino, has to be done with gratitude for the strength one has, and people one meets.

In fact living it to the full, sometimes with joy and sometimes in pain with bad knees, blisters, etc. But one day at a time, hoping to get a simple meal and a bed at the end of the day.

Is it not life like that?

Thanks be to God for the day now is coming to an end. Good night.

God bless you.

We walk alongside the Lord

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September 19th - It was a beautiful day to walk, fresh and sunny.

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To begin with, the road was quite flat, but soon it became demanding, as we started going up and down. Quite hard on the knees. Thank God, I made my mind up to stop at the village called Viana. This is before Logroño. Most pilgrims were going there. I remember last time I did the journey I walked all the way to Logroño, but I was young then. It is amazing how one's body suffers from the changes in 5 years. I have to accept my limitations. Perhaps the sore knees reminds me of this reality. So, as I walk slowly, I can contemplate more.

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On my way a young pilgrim joined the group in one of the villages. I could see her joy and enthusiasm as she was going up and down the road as if she was walking in the park. She made me think of how new Christians, who have joined the faithful in the journey, walk alongside with an incredible enthusiasm, that either cheers one up, or makes one wonder.

This time, as I made my way my thoughts and prayers were with people who are suffering, and going through treatment, and especially for Brian who is unwell, bedridden and waiting for his Lord and Saviour.

Let's continue praying for one another.

On to Navarrete

September 20th - Good Morning.

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My heart goes out to the suffering people of Mexico and the Caribbean. As I walk, my thoughts and prayers are with them and with you all. This morning I leave a bit early to avoid the heat of the afternoon.  I leave Viana, will pass Logroño and stop in Navarrete.

May God bless you and your family and all you do today.

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Vineyards a Plenty

September 21st - Thank you for your continued support. Today my walk was a bit shorter than usual. I am trying to allow the knees to rest a bit and gain strength. It was a beautiful sunny day. Most of the time we walked through vineyards. Thank God, I reached Najera before 1pm.

A fellow pilgrim who continued the journey to the next town, found it a bit too hot.

Tomorrow, God's willing I am going to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

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I can see Najera....

His mercies are new every morning

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September 22nd - Thank God for this new day. Yes, his mercies are new every morning, great is his faithfulness.

I left Najera, and on my way to Santo Domingo.  The day was just right for a good walk. It rained earlier in the morning, so I found the road a bit wet, however, the clouds protected us from the scorching sun.

I had to climb a hill, from 2100ft to 3500ft.

It is harvest time around here too. I can see people harvesting the grape so carefully, by hand.

Not long ago I reached Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

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My Thanks & Gratitude

September 22nd - Thank you so much for your good wishes and prayers.

I just send the photos as you were walking with me, as fellow virtual pilgrims, and as you walk in spirit.

I am resting now, and have made plans for tomorrow, God's willing.  The body is starting to show signs of tiredness.  Thank God, tomorrow, when I reach Belorado, I will take Sunday as a day of rest.

Thinking of you, of course, at this special time of Harvest Festival. 

I am sure the church will look magnificent with the artistic work of the flower ladies and the generous Harvest gifts from Woodley Primary School, and the ministry of Lesley Green.

I am very grateful that Tony helped me the last two weeks, as well as Sean, Nigel, Michael and Suzanne.

Many blessings to you all.

The Sun shone with all its splendour

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September 23rd - Gracias! Thank you!

(In reference to the church being decorated for Harvest Festival) The church looks so great. Well done.  Thank you for your hard work.

To begin with, the day was kind of overcast. But by 11am the sun started to shine with all its splendour. By 1pm it was very hot.

I reached Belorado just a bit shy of 3pm. So, I had to go straight away to have the Pilgrim's Menu. Now, I am going to go to my place of rest. Thank you for your encouragement and your patience with my English. Sometimes, as I write in haste, the predicted language write things I am not saying. I am sorry.

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